Pizzeria

Not long ago, I watched Tested’s in-depth video talking about pizza stones and their virtues when it comes to making pizzas at home. Being a fan of cooking in general, knowing that Whistler and the Fish (my girls) have a ton of fun making pizza from scratch with me, I wanted to see what kind of results we’d get with a pizza stone. I was mightily surprised when it turned out that WE HAVE ONE.

The Fish, the eldest, gave it a good cleaning, and both helped me make the dough for the crust.

NEWS FLASH NEWS FLASH NEWS FLASH

STOP PAYING PEOPLE FOR PIZZA. PIZZA CRUST IS THE EASIEST THING EVER TO MAKE AND MAKE AWESOMELY. MY FIVE- AND SIX-YEAR-OLDS CAN DO IT.

It went something like this (except we doubled the recipe):

•1 ( quarter-ounce) package active dry yeast (or .5 tablespoons quick-rise yeast)
•1 cup warm water
•2 cups flour
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•1 teaspoon salt
•2 teaspoons honey
•flour and cornmeal for finishing the crust

1.In a little bowl, bloom yeast for about 10 minutes in warm water until the little yeastie beasties are all creamy. If you’re feeling nice, you can give ’em a taste of honey at this point to speed up the process.

2.In a bigger bowl, preferably in the bowl for one of those awesome KitchenAid mixers, combine 2 cups flour, olive oil, salt, honey, and the water & yeast. Mix until combined or knead gently by hand until everything’s nice and smooth. Cover and rise until the dough has doubled in volume. This will be about a half-hour if you’re making one portion, or a little more if you’ve increased the recipe. My preference? Give it time. Be patient. Go make the sauce while it’s rising. The longer it rises, the lighter the dough, and the fluffier and crisper the crust will be.

3.Spread out a goodly bit of flour and cornmeal. Portion out the dough – as much as will fill your baking stone or baking sheet. Again, my preference here is to make it thin. Dust with cornmeal, roll out, flip, and repeat.

So easy a child can do it. And then eat it. Om nom nom.

So easy a child can do it. And then eat it. Om nom nom.

AND THAT’S IT. Decorate as you desire. If you’re cooking it on a baking sheet, it’s about 350 Farenheit for 20 minutes or so. On a stone, 450 for 15. The stone will crisp things up nicely. I haven’t found it more difficult to cook on the stone, but I think I need to keep experimenting with the timing. There’s more to it than simply cooking the way you would use a regular baking sheet.

This one was mine. Delicious basil pesto for the sauce, stacks of veg, lots of mozarella and parm.

This one was mine. Delicious basil pesto for the sauce, stacks of veg, lots of mozarella and parm. Excuse the yellow lighting.

Oh, and no evening spent cooking together would be complete without being fancy.

They were the fancy diners. I ended up the waiter. Sigh.

They were the fancy diners. I ended up the waiter. Sigh.

These crusts will also, in theory, freeze well, so I made two more pizzas and threw them in the freezer. We’ll see whether that’s frozen pizza done right, or whether it’s just a recipe for wasted ‘zas.

Eat well, make memories. And, as always, paddle your own canoe.

-Trevor

PS: Forgot to mention this in the post, but the sauce was made while the dough rose and was strained tomatoes, a can of tomato paste, some sauteed garlic and onions, oregano, fresh basil, and other seasonings, and about five servings worth of veggies. Sautee the veg, add the tomato and seasonings, blend like a mad thing. Tastes just like awesome pizza sauce, has plenty of body, and the kids get their vitamins whilst chowing down on a slice.

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